During one of my frequent visits to art galleries, I walked in front of an elderly woman. I turned to apologise. She told me she could not see and had lost her sight recently, she also said that her greatest loss.
I asked her if there was anywhere she could go to touch art. She replied ” No where my dear, you are not allowed to touch anything”.
When I got home those words really upset me. She was right, everywhere you go there are signs DO NOT TOUCH. Adults and children love to touch. The smooth wood, pebbles, sand, fabrics, everything, we even touch like to touch paint when there is a WET PAINT sign. It is in our nature.
The next day I went into the studio, got out lots of different materials, some of which I had not used since my restoration course. I decided that I would find a way to make paintings you could touch and include them in my first solo exhibition.
I had been taught many skills on my course, wood carving, working with fine plaster, mould making and gilding to name a few. There had to be someway to marry those skills with painting to create a piece of art that could be touched.
I worked from sketches I had. I used Gesso and another product ( that is a secret), thicker plaster and brushes and trowels to apply it. I used household sand, sieved it and played with that as well. ( The Victorians used sand within frames to create pattern). I knew it would work.
The very first tactile painting I made, is called ANGELS CONFETTI. The story behind it. is that on the day my daughter got married it started to snow, I told her that the Angels were sprinkling confetti for her. A simple story line and a simple image.
I finished the painting by protecting it with a few coats of varnish. To make sure it was tough enough to be touched, I scatched it, rubbed it, knocked it and nothing harmed the painting. I went on to create another five paintings, using plaster and sand, and with a week to spare had my 42 paintings ready for my solo exhibition, six of which could be touched.